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Philosophy, Technology, and the Environment$
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David M. Kaplan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035668

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035668.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

Design for Sustainability

Design for Sustainability

(p.121) 7 Design for Sustainability
Philosophy, Technology, and the Environment

Ibo van de Poel

The MIT Press

Ibo van de Poel claims that there is substantial disagreement about the exact conception of sustainability even if there is general agreement on its desirability. We should see sustainability as a “compounded” value (not a mere technical issue) that consists of intergenerational justice, intragenerational justice, and care for nature. These values often conflict. The three most common ways of dealing with value conflicts are through life cycle analysis (which compares and aggregates multiple environmental impacts into one measure), respecification (which identifies higher-order and less controversial values to be specified into a design), or innovation (which develops new options that meet all design requirements). Usually value conflicts are can be handled by specifications of shared values or by new innovations. Van de Poel recommends a “values hierarchy” that organizes conflicting interpretations of a specific project in order to determine the available design options. He proposes “value dams” and “value flows” to manage conflicts among stakeholders, who might have different conceptions of sustainability. A value dam would prevent those design features that are strongly opposed by at least one or more stakeholders, and a value flow would promote design requirements that fit a number of different conceptions of sustainability.

Keywords:   Sustainability, Sustainable design, Values heirarchy, Intergenerational justice, Life Cycle Analysis, Respectification, Innovation, Stakeholders

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